#MY SELF CARE SELFIE

MENTAL HEALTH CAMPAIGN LAUNCH POST!!!

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For those of you who are unaware, as well as being a blogger I am also a mental health campaigner and media volunteer for national Mind (the leading UK mental health charity), and a fundraising volunteer for my local Mind in the North East of England.

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Local Mind charities are separate charities from the main national charity, and they offer services for directly supporting the wellbeing of us living with mental health problems in our communities (regardless of whether you have a diagnosed condition or not).

Local Minds across the Mind network are there so that people with a mental health condition can access emotional support, group support, or individual counselling in their communities, without any need to be referred from your GP.

What most people assume (when they donate to the main Mind charity), is that all money from that big pot of charitable donations gets spread around all the local Minds in England and Wales- but this is not actually the case. All local Minds are self-financing and independent; reliant on the generosity of the public in order to keep going and keep providing all the brilliant services they provide for their locality.

Me being me, and liking to draw attention to MENTAL HEALTH in a big way acting coy through blogging, writing, and campaigning (plus wanting to add to the pot of donations for my fave charity), I thought I’d try my hand at a social media mental health awareness/anti-stigma campaign.

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And MY SELF CARE SELFIE #myselfcareselfie was born :) Here is mine!

I talked my idea over with my fundraising boss, and My Self Care Selfie was a project launched locally last week by the charity on World Mental Health Day.

The idea is, people post their favourite ‘go-to’ self care coping strategies that they use on bad mental health days, and then we can all use that wisdom collected from other people to form a HUGE visual/online/accessible library of mood-enhancing coping options that people can browse through and try themselves when they happen to be having a bad mental health day! Simple and cool, right?

I want this to be BIG! I want the #myselfcareselfie hashtag to be used to the max, and I want MAXIMUM awareness across England slash the entire globe, of the great work done by the local mental health charity I volunteer for…….TYNESIDE AND NORTHUMBERLAND MIND.

I have been helped personally by this charity so much.

I am not paid by them to do PR and marketing. In fact, I am not paid at all, I am a volunteer, doing this simply because I believe in the charity and I am motivated to support the charity as best I can, because the charity supported ME, and I will never forget what they did for me to help me through the roughest emotional/psychological ride of my entire life. ❤❤❤

Regardless of whether you have a ICD/DSM diagnostic label spelled out on your medical records, or how exactly you’d score on a depression or anxiety inventory given out by your GP, mental health is an everyday concern for everyday people.

The principal behind the campaign is very much compatible with this AMAZING video, made my another local Mind, in the North of England. (Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind). This video is fab, and so worth a watch…..

They, like me, think it’s time to make mental health an everyday subject.

Regardless of whether you’ve ever been psychiatrically assessed, or hospitalised in a psychiatric unit, or attempted suicide (at thought about it), or hurt yourself on purpose, or ever had to flee a room because of a panic attack, or suffered a clinical depression, or a psychotic break, or experienced crippling social anxiety that has stopped you doing things, or had problems with eating, or a manic phase, or obsessive thoughts, paranoia, addictions, phobias. YOU NAME IT. All this is about mental health, and mental health is about all of us.

We ALL need to care for our mental health, no matter what end of the spectrum of mood and functioning you are.

Mental health can be great, fantastic, okay, meh, or just plain AWFUL.

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Usually happy and content people still get bad days, and someone who often struggles emotionally with their moods will still have some better times, and usually also a whole repertoire of coping options that they draw on to get them through the crappy phases. My message is, we can all benefit from adding to our toolkit of emotional regulation/self-soothing strategies.

MY SELF CARE SELFIE is the campaign that will (hopefully) raise public awareness of all the positive coping strategies that can be tried in times of low mood, or anxiety, or anger, or even times of emotional emptiness and numbness where we feel nothing at all.

This is a campaign for positive mental health, to encourage open sharing of ideas about how we can get through the tough times when things become particularly challenging emotionally. This is to get social media used for a positive purpose, for positive mental health for all of us. And if you click this link you can go direct to their Facebook page…..HERE

Tyneside and Northumberland Mind have set up an accompanying crowdfunding page to go with this campaign (on JustGiving), so people can donate to support services offered across Tyneside and Northumberland. If anyone out there would like to make a small donation, I would be hugely grateful!!! You can make online donations on JustGiving in any currency, so this is not just a appeal for pennies and pounds from the Brits. Just please indicate you would like to donate (if you would like to) by leaving me a comment below. Thank you!

I’ll leave you with some of the self care selfies we’ve had in so far……aren’t they FAB! And so varied 😊 If you are interested in donating to our crowdfunding page and getting your selfie publically shared, leave me a comment or alternatively email me at summerstartstoshine@yahoo.com X

 

YOUR HELP IN PROMOTING THIS CAMPAIGN WOULD BE SO MUCH APPRECIATED PLEASE, SO IF YOU COULD LINK BACK TO THIS BLOG AND WRITE YOUR OWN #myselfcareselfie POST, OR REBLOG THIS ON YOUR OWN BLOGS, I WOULD BE HUGELY GRATEFUL AND MAY POSSIBLY LOVE YOU FOR EVER….so no pressure ;)

 

summerSHINES©

 

#myselfcareselfie creator, and Tyneside and Northumberland Mind Fundraising Volunteer.

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PSYCHIATRY AND THE JEDI

I know she (the clinical psychologist) meant well. I know her presence there was designed only to make me feel more comfortable. But I wonder how he felt (the psychiatrist), having his diagnostic interview scrutinised by her (a senior psychologist).

Was he behaving naturally? Or was he putting on a show for her? as well as patient me.

It’s difficult, I imagine, to be someone’s psychologist (who has known and worked with pre and post breakdown in therapy), and to watch on passively while someone tries to psychiatrically interview/ diagnose your patient.

She (the senior clinical psychologist) knows me so well. He (the psychiatrist) has known me, by contrast, for somewhere approaching four hours. Yet he yields ALL the diagnostic and decision making power.

He is the one asking me the questions, and I am the one telling him what I think is important to describe, but what did that third party observer actually think? She jumped into the conversation and helped me out a few times. She added bits which were right to be added; bits that I was too mentally and emotionally overloaded in that situation to say. She also reinforced bits that I said, by saying words to the effect of “yes psychiatrist man. Definitely include this in your diagnostic report- this particular shit matters very much.”

But I guess she might have felt a little powerless? Not used to being in a situation where she was not the primary mental health professional leading the clinical patient/professional dance.

So what is the difference between clinical psychologists and medically trained psychiatrists? Psychologists in the UK (and I assume worldwide) are not allowed to make diagnostic decisions about their patients or clients. They can offer suggestions, but they cannot impose their professional opinion to the extent that they can make an official mental health diagnosis that adorns your medical records. (They also cannot prescribe meds).

That is the diagnostic power only reserved for the Jedi. (The psychiatrist/the person you call Doctor.)

“The Jedi” was the main nickname for my previous psychiatrist….

The psychiatrist is a professional that yields their power like a DSM/ICD aware light sabre. Whoosh. Whoosh. I have the power! etc etc. (The DSM and ICD are the manuals listing the criteria for each subtype of mental illness).

But it is the clinical psychologist that usually knows you way better than the diagnostic power yielding light sabre-ish doctors of mental health medicine-the psychiatrist.

Clinical psychologists offer the therapy that is there to facilitate improvement in your management of your illness. Doctors usually only offer prescriptions and their opinions.

Clinical psychologists are the class of professionals in the mental health world that I admire the most. Is that only because I’m a psychology graduate myself? 😛 Am I just biased towards protecting my own discipline or school of study?….. Well, I don’t think so. I have the upmost respect for them because they help me the most. I have worked with three of them now, and they satisfy me emotionally and intellectually in a way that just doesn’t apply to community psychiatric nurses (CPNs), support workers, person centred counsellors and psychiatrists.

But the psychiatrist has the power. They can detain you under the mental health act (in other words ‘section’ you). They can change your medication. They can take away your driving license even.

The doctor ALWAYS has the most power. Yet they spend the LEAST time with you! and understand your complexity and set of symptoms THE LEAST.

Usually in a community mental health interdisciplinary team, or a hospital equivalent- the psychiatrist is invariably the lead professional (in ultimate charge of a mentally unwell patient), but who said psychiatrist’s must be in the lead. What race did they ever win to determine they would be the designated top dog of mental health care?

They don’t spend fuck all time with you! So how can they be most critically important in a interdisciplinary team of mental health professionals?

A medication review can take as little as 15 minutes. A full psychiatric history can be taken in as little as an hour and a half. I spent 4 hours with this psychiatrist in this case, spread over two appointments, but that was only because he TALKED SO FUCKING MUCH HIMSELF!! I would estimate about 70% of the time spent with me with him talking! And not only that, he yields 100% of the power.

He has the power to talk at length about what the hell he wants to talk about. He has the power to the set his own diary of appointments and manage his time. He also has the power to change your diagnostic assessment appointment into his own wannabee TED talk! Which brings me onto the key hypothesis of this post (which may well offend psychiatrist’s or partners of psychiatrist’s, so please stop reading now if you are associated in any way with this breed of Jedis).

I think it is maybe impossible for a psychiatrist to do their job, without, over time, developing certain personality traits of narcissism (if they are not already a narcissist)

Boom. I said it!

I will let my (provocative) hypothesis sink in for a moment…..

I have not so far met a psychiatrist that I have NOT detected some evident narcissistic traits in!

I liked the doctor I saw, don’t get me wrong. He was very helpful at times, very sweet and considerate, and also very personable and engaging, dare I say charismatic. I don’t dislike him at all, and this post is not a personal slur on him, per se. I am merely making a sweeping generalisation (which may or may not be true 😂😂) that grandiosity is a trait I have seen time and time again in all the doctors/Jedi’s I’ve come across.

From their point of view, I think it must be potentially very difficult to perform that role and yield that level of power over others on a daily basis without eventually starting to actively enjoy that power and basically starting to believe your own hype. Patients and other clinicians and organisations deferring to you and obediently responding to your requests and listening to your opinions as though they are fact, AT ALL TIMES, must evidently go to your head after a while.

You are the doctor. Therefore you are the ultimate god/goddess of mental health professionals. Truth. Sorted. No questions asked. End of sentence. Done.

Psychiatrists, in my experience, tend to present opinions as though they are facts.

Sometimes they will even fall back on the classic cliché of saying “I’m a doctor”. [Ergo I know this to be true?]. They will typically remind you they are a doctor, either before or after they state their OPINION, and they think we will therefore respond to their opinion as though it were truth; an unequivocal fact.

TRUST ME, I HAVE A DEGREE IN MEDICINE. THEREFORE I AM ACTUALLY AMAZING AND INVINCIBLE AND BLOODY FANTASTIC.

But most clever people know that there is no such thing as a fact. There are instead multiple truths, and multiple angles, and multiple hypotheses which all need and demand our attention.

In my blog, I will admit to often presenting my opinions in a very definite style, but this is blog life, not real life, and the only humans I really exert any proper influence over in my real life are my children (and husband in times of PMS!).

I am not a doctor or practising psychologist. I have no power. I only have blogger power, by stating my words as though I mean them, but most of the time I simply present my opinions in definite ways when blogging just because it’s my blog innit- my place to express myself in a very self-expressive cathartic way. But doctors do blogging (not literally, but metaphorically) by expressing their opinions as facts in their professional lives every day. No wonder they develop a grandiose sense of their own importance as they play doctors with their sectioning/diagnosing/prescribing light sabres.

It is IMPOSSIBLE for me to meet a psychiatrist without getting a comical picture in my mind develop of them yielding a light sabre, complete with whooshing noises, as they make a point of psychiatric importance, in their’ doctor-ish I’m in charge’ way. It makes me want to giggle and blurt out my hypothesis that they are some of them mainly all of them are total narcissists, and this makes me wanna LOL.

This is how I visualise them. (I am the unicorn).

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I have a brother who is a doctor, and also a narcissist, so I have observed a doctor’s narcissism at very close quarters. I have the insiders view of narcissistic doctors, because I listened to all the narcissistic bollocks he used to say away from the consulting room, about his patients. He was not a psychiatrist- he was a GP, but a narcissist he most definitely was. And that is what I see in all the psychiatrists I’ve ever seen, therefore it MUST be true!

To sum up, psychiatrists are Jedis, and narcissists, who present opinions as facts, who believe they are the best, who never tire of reminding people “I AM A DOCTOR, don’t you know,” before they make their educated guesses about what is wrong with you and how you can be helped, as though there is no other option available, and meanwhile, the clinical psychologists, who actually KNOW YOU and spend decent amounts of time with you, and understand you inside out, do not get awarded that same level of respect.

The psychiatrist I saw, did a whole lot of stating the bleeding obvious, making patronising suggestions to my clinical psychologist/therapist about simplistic treatment strategies that she started doing FOUR FUCKING YEARS AGO, as though they were startling revelations, and not only that, he prefaced every sentence he said by saying I AM A DOCTOR, as if it were possible for me to forget. He is a doctor, therefore he is God, and the Jedi, and clinical psychologists and patients must do the fucking obvious things he says we must do, and then I will get better and all will be well.

For a doctor who claims to be the expert, my faith is in my psychologist, who has a clinical doctorate but does not call herself a doctor. She quietly goes about trying to help me week in week out, with no fanfare, no prefacing everything she says with I AM A PSYCHOLOGIST, THEREFORE THIS IS SURELY TRUE, and she does not have that narcissism that seems to me to be reserved for the doctor of medicine.

What do you think of my cheeky hypothesis? Do you observe grandiosity and arrogance in the psychiatrists/doctors you see? What is your view of the usefulness of psychiatrists, relative to other mental health professionals? Is your psychiatrist a Jedi? And next time you meet them, will you be visualising them showing off, yielding a whooshing I am a dfoctor therefore I am most clever and important light sabre? I know I will ;)

WHOOSH!

 

summerSHINES©

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I BELIEVED HIM

I write this fresh after my psychiatric reassessment experience. Only minutes away I was sat with him [and her who was sitting in to interject, if I went (for want of a better term), “bonkers”].

That was the conclusion of the two-parter- the psychiatric evaluation with some fresh meat….Fresh mental health doctor meat, with fresh eyes and less preconceptions and prejudgments.

How can I sum it up? Hmmm…..let me try.

It was tough, though much more relaxed than the first one. I didn’t have to tell him to stop talking this time! My tolerance (for him and the evaluation process) was higher, because I am now medicated appropriately on 100mg Pregabalin twice daily.

He was a nice doctor, with a heart- but my god did he talk! He talked and talked and talked, and I interrupted (in frustration a few times), and occasionally he’d ask me questions, but for the most part he talked, and he philosophised and he hypothesised, and he got caught up in his own elaborate descriptions and metaphors of what he believed were my issues, and what was happening emotionally for me which was affecting my mental state.

It will take a while for all of that content to percolate through my awareness, and for me to reflect on it further, but this post is my initial impression on the conversational exchange between us.

He made me cry today, but not in a “this man is a evil psychiatrist” way, more tears of resignation and overwhelm that no matter how many people I meet and how many times I think I am starting afresh, people form the same kind of opinions about me and my personality and mental health and where they believe I am going wrong.

He did a long monologue at one point (one of many!), and it made me weep. No matter how much I tried to blockade the newly forming tears by plugging the gaps with my tissue, they continued to drip drip drip out of my glassy eyes.

It wasn’t a monologue that I shall remember because it was unkind. Quite the opposite. It was a monologue that I shall remember because I know his words were absolutely dead right, truer than true, and compassionate and very kindly meant, though aching in the sadness of their truth.

Even though I have heard variations on the content of that monologue from several friends, mental health workers and colleagues, I think it finally worked and had a bit of an impact today- because I knew he sincerely meant what he said. I am used to the same mental health professionals and once I can predict them, I almost stop listening.

I need newness and novelty and fresh people and new and interesting conversations. Because with new people I think I sometimes believe them more, and their words therefore have a greater personal impact.

As a survivor of extreme childhood trauma/ abuse/ mind control/ brainwashing/ torture/ manipulation/coercion and cruelty, it remains difficult for me to take what people say on face value as being an accurate reflection of what they really think and feel. I am always skeptical and trust isn’t given on demand. People have to work a little to gain it first. The doctor worked so he gained my trust. He challenged me and I challenged him, so mutual respect and rapport developed.

Respect and rapport isn’t always 100%. I find the world threatening, and people even more so. I have complex-PTSD. Therefore I am hypersensitised to social danger. I am always assessing people’s faces very very closely. I am noticing the tiniest change in their body language, eye gaze, intensity of attention, facial expression, and so on, and this a skill I learned to do as a child who was physically, sexually, and emotionally hurt on a daily basis. I had to find ways to predict when the bad things would happen so I studied people closely. I think my motivation to study human psychology at school then university is definitely no coincidence.

I trusted he meant what he said because of the emphatic manner in which he delivered those messages. Wishy washy definitely doesn’t wash well with me. He had impact, and was quite mesmerising actually.

He said stuff I’ve heard but rarely believed, and he’d helped me believe it. All because I believed in him.

I won’t write what he said just now, as I want to keep it just for me a bit longer.

I think I will change. I just need to plan how the hell to do it!

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I am motivated to change, because I believed him, and in him- and in the truth he was trying to convince me of.

summerSHINES©

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MY [EMPTY] SELF

I’m bored of myself. Bored of my [empty] self. Bored of what I write.

I am really sorry my blog posts lately have been so uninspiring in tone. I feel actively and most passionately mundane, supressed, deflated, dull, pedestrian and un-shining.

The last time I was inspired was yesterday, which seems both not long ago while simultaneously VERY fucking long ago.

On Tuesday I wrote my piece for the local paper about mental health. I felt inspired then. I also felt proud yesterday when the charity CEO asked for my permission to share what I’d written with the team and when my social media idea was launched on world mental health day. But today, all that pride and gratefulness and positive feeling has drained away, and this is sadly the way it seems to go.

I cannot grasp hold of those amazing euphoric warm fuzzy feelings that I get and keep them.

They slip like sand through the hourglass with the passage of time…and not very much time elapses, usually.

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Emptiness is my ‘usual’.

I am feeling acutely aware of my unmet emotional needs just lately. I know why this is. It’s since the whole Facebook saga where I caught a glimpse of photos of a family wedding that I remained uninvited to and left out of.

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I saw evidence of their life going on, and I wondered why mine was not. That has made the inner emotional emptiness absolutely un-ignorable (I’m hoping that’s an actual word?!).

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Long-term therapy is what I need to get anything close to “well”, but as I can’t afford to pay for a therapist privately, I am reliant on my NHS psychologist not dropping me off her caseload too soon.

I said to her that therapy is okay and great and all that, but it is nothing like as nice as the warm fuzzy feeing that comes from having an attentive family; people who are there to stay and to love and support you as long as you need them. My therapist cannot maintain what she does for the rest of my life. She is here for a period of time that she will never ever tell me the proposed length of. I cannot know that I have a few more months, or a few more years or any kind of estimate. She simply refuses to do this.

She claims that I will not always need her, and I will naturally want to break away from her when the time comes. I tell her that is BOLLOCKS and will surely NEVER happen! I just can’t see it. I can’t envisage EVER feeling that her addition in my life is unnecessary or counterproductive or counter-therapeutic.

I am uncomfortably attached to a pretend mother figure who isn’t really my mum and never will be! and I know she isn’t really my mum, and she knows she isn’t really my mum, and we just basically play a weird dance of pretending that she is re-parenting me and teaching me psychological life lesson stuffs, and I go to the office weekly and have a good old cathartic cry, and then miss her inbetween so email her as I want to tell her psychologically relevant stuff that she MUST know that second, and then she finds me bloody intrusive and annoying (I would imagine) as I am eating into her time, and I know I’m eating into her time so feel awful and stupid and pathetic and demanding and fucking guilty, and then she knows and I know that the whole fucking shambolic mess of pretences and client-therapist exchanges would never be happening if I’d have had a less shit childhood, and at the end of the day it is all BOLLOCKS, but bollocks that if I didn’t have would cause me to become very fucking unwell, which is hard to imagine really isn’t it? as even with therapy and shit I am still fucking miserable and recurrently suicidal and fighting off impulses to do totes dangerous things like jump out of windows and carve into my skin with blades and swallow more tablets than I should be swallowing….and I really should be stopping this grammatically poor and overly LONG sentence NOW.

And breathe.

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I’m sick of having a empty space in my empty self.

I want to feel full.

Food doesn’t do it.

Booze doesn’t either.

Or sex.

Or Netflix on demand.

Or beach walks.

Or candle lit evenings with hubby.

Or meditation.

Or shopping.

Or writing.

Or drawing.

Or cleaning.

Or bleeding.

Or talking therapy.

Or coffee with good friends.

Or reading.

Or learning.

Or music.

Or nature.

Or hugs.

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Or praise.

Or reassurance.

Or expressions of love.

The only thing I’m full up with, is my own inner emptiness.

I am crammed full with emptiness, and weighed down by the weight of my (empty) self.

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summerSHINES©

 

DISSOCIATE DISSOCIATE

It’s time to untangle my thoughts and feelings, I think, after a bewildering few days. This morning was the head fuck shake, that is psychological therapy.

The headline news of the sesh today revolved around a very important and clinically significant fact. I have found out I wasn’t only of half the dose of anxiety meds that I thought I was taking for three weeks, but I’ve actually been on this incredibly low dose since MAY! [which, as now is October, is a jolly long time to be on what you know to be a very low dose of your meds].

It is disconcerting when your therapist lists things you have said and email exchanges that apparently have happened with your ex-psychiatrist that you seriously have no memory of ever happening.

The reason for this total amnesia, confusion and lack of ability to remain mentally present and attend to important details looks like it is dissociation.

Traumatised brains (like mine) are very liable to dissociative spells.

The lights are on, but mentally and cognitively speaking, no one is home.

Dissociation in simple terms is disconnection. Perceptions and sensations and all that incoming data are not processed in the usual ways, and you are left not feeling your usual self. Mild dissociation feels like daydreaming, and we all do it, but the type of dissociation I am talking about is more complex and pervasive and all encompassing/life destructive.

I mentally check out, and my attention funnels down into tiny separated elements. I cannot grasp the whole picture of something and the meaning of words. I hear words as separate words, but not hearing them as full sentences which are conveying meaning. It is perfectly possible for me (who is fairly academically bright) to listen to simple sentence and be absolutely unable to grasp their whole meaning until I have heard the sentence a few times.

Sometimes my brain gets overwhelmed and I can only listen to bits of words, or individual words. Sometimes people’s voices are far away, or other times they are booming and LOUD and make me want to crawl into dark nooks and crannies to hide from that sensory onslaught.

Sometimes when I read things I have to ask my husband to be the second reader, to grasp the whole message, but this has only happened at times when I am dissociated, which lately is extremely regular, and pretty much a key feature of my existence.

So, in this mentally/attentionally vacant and compromised state, I obviously had some email dialogue with my psychiatrist, which quickly tumbled out of my mind, never to be retrieved again, until now, when I am told I am apparently agreed this 50mg dose of anti-seizure drug, Pregabalin (Lyrica) all along!

This really disconcerts me. My actual words when I found this out via my psychologist were “are you FUCKING kidding me??!” [I was not in an eloquent mood today]. I was angry, and underlying my anger was anger at myself. It was not anger with them. It was anger that was self-directed, for my absolute THICKNESS at not recalling that this conversation/decision had apparently been made, all the way back in May, which feel like a lifetime ago.

No-one else but me would label myself as “thick”, and if someone else said it, I’d be hurt, but I can call myself thick, and I think that is more than okay because there is no other word in the English Language that I can think of (during times of emotion and surprise like that) that convey the full disgust and complete head-shaking regret that I feel, all associated with how my damn brain functions so much of the time.

Dissociation is a way to escape the inescapable. It is a brain shut down mechanism that enables people, and abused children especially, to survive the most terrifying and unimaginable traumatic horrors that can happen. Without dissociation, the terror in my childhood veins would have caused some kind of heart attack I’d imagine. That was how explosive my trauma felt to me, so naturally my brain numbed itself out, otherwise how on earth could I have survived in those awful circumstances, feeling pain as I did, and white knuckle fear.

Dissociation helped me, but now it hinders, because at the age of 36, my brain still does it! and it won’t stop doing it!

My brain will just not obey my orders, so the best way I could describe it is I sometimes have experiences that feel like early onset dementia, or MS or Parkinsons.

I feel old. So old.

I feel like a confused old lady instead of a savvy and smart 30-something mum of two.

I am ADAMANT that I had no knowledge of the psychiatrist instructing my GP to put me on 50mg Pregabalin, and they are adamant that (although I may not remember it), it did happen, so it is my memory that is at fault (due to dissociation), rather than them and how they communicated with me about medication options.

So I’m in a sitch where I’ve been on a shittily low dose of a drug since May, have had a very noticeable mental health relapse, stopped running, pulled back on volunteering, became suicidal, started self-harming again, and fell out with a few people, with the added mind pressure that I realise it is probably not someone else’s fault, but the fault truly lies within my own brain and how is dissociates.

If only I could exterminate exterminate the way my brain dissociates dissociates.

(I hope you are familiar with old episodes from the 1980’s of Dr Who, otherwise that reference will be totally lost on you)

That. my friends, is SHIT.

The shittiest pill I’ve attempted to swallow in a long time.

So basically, I have been on 50mg twice daily for months, thinking I was on double. Previously (at my ill-est and worsest, I took 200mg of lyrica three times a day, so being on only 100mg a day is very low for me, and was bound to destabilise me……… and it has.

So I start doing a bit of internet research earlier today about Pregabalin, only to find it is incredibly addictive, people easily become dependent on it, and it is a prescription drug that is commonly used for recreational use, (as the effect of it mimics the euphoria associated with opiates like heroin.)

I read that it is a drug that is incredibly difficult to come off, as the withdrawal effects are powerful, and bearing in mind I used to take 200mg of it, three times a day, (which is the maximum legal amount), 50mg twice a day was a significant drop.

“NO WONDER”, is the phrase that kept coming up.

No wonder you got so poorly.

No wonder you were edgy and depressed and irritable and self-harming and becoming increasingly hopeless and helpless and wanting your life to end.

You had drastically reduced a dose down of something that is (allegedly) as addictive as heroin. I am not going to get into debates with blog readers by the way about the specifics of this, or the various evidence for and against Pregabalin or other drugs. I will say that clearly in advance. All I know is I felt ill, because I was not getting my ‘fix’ of this drug.

I know now, with the benefit of hindsight and through observing my emotional state at different times, that when I am on Pregabalin my personality changes in a good way. I become mellow, and calm, and smiley, and protected by that euphoric feeling. I am friendlier, and more agreeable. The mood swings are not as erratic and I am more content to just ‘be’, and not be such a hypomanic hippo all the time with racing thoughts and agitation and insomnia etc.

My dissociation symptoms have worsened on this low dose of Pregabalin, without a doubt, because dissociation is a response to anxiety- so if we feel less threatened on a physiological level, it makes sense that we’d be less reactive to environmental stressors so there would be less need to mentally check out and space out and cognitively disconnect at times of high anxiety.

I changed from someone fairly oblivious and in my bubble (albeit a sedated one) of high dose Pregablin, to someone who was aware of every little detail and overwhelmed by it all; so at times when my senses became bombarded with incoming stimuli, I dissociated more and more, to the extent I had NO IDEA what pills I was taking.

I was so mentally foggy that for months I haven’t even had the cognitive ability to look at a packet and read the little numbers of it and take that information in.

I just see pills and I swallow them (only prescription ones, OBVS!).

That level of dissociative mindlessness is alarming to me. In truth, it’s been a big shake up for me.

I have sleepwalked through life, in a fog, and now I’m out of the fog and back on 100mg twice a day, I realise what’s been happening; all without me ever being aware.

I am taking now what my brain has been craving all the time, and I want more more more. I had already agreed (with my new psychiatrist) to try an increase to 150mg twice daily, possibly going up to 200mg twice a day, if I needed more.

But now I know the addictiveness of it and it’s similarity to providing effects that mimic heroin, I am thinking, yep, this drug sure makes me feel great, but do I really want to be addicted? and take it long-term?

I hate the thought of dependence and addiction on a prescription drug, but at the end of the day, Pregabalin is a literal life saver for me. I am suicidal and unstable without it. So if I want to be psychologically healthy, for me, Pregabalin is my best bet.

And the box it comes in also makes a very good top layer of a cardboard box (home-made) Egyptian pyramid! made for a school homework project! Here is a photo of it before my beautiful new dose of Pregabalin box was covered in tissue paper :D

I’m hooked, but I’m better on it, so this is what I’ll swallow.

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summerSHINES©